Jim Radogna of Dealer Compliance Consultants blogged about the indictment of a former South Carolina Suzuki Dealer on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud regarding fraudulent financing agreements and conspiracy to commit wire fraud regarding fraudulent reporting of sales to American Suzuki Motor Corporation. You can read Mr. Radogna’s blog post on this topic here and for those who enjoy reading indictments (i.e. law students like me), you can read the indictment here.
While reading the indictment I was surprised to see that an employee of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (hereinafter “Suzuki”) was indicted along with the defendant owner and employees of Joe Gibson Suzuki. Particularly, the allegation on the charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as related to fraudulent reporting of sales to Suzuki piqued my interest. My first job out of college was with Ford Motor Company as a field rep, doing a job similar to what the Suzuki employee involved in this case did (sans the fraudulent and illegal activity, of course). In short, the US Attorney alleged that the Suzuki employee worked with his codefendants to report vehicles sold that weren’t really sold, so that the dealership could obtain incentive payments that Suzuki paid upon the sale of the vehicle.
Most of the blogs and articles in trade publications address ethics and compliance issues facing dealerships. You don’t see similar attention paid to ethical issues and compliance matters related to activities of factory reps or other employees of auto manufacturers or suppliers. For any factory reps out there reading this, remember that the laws apply to you as well. Ignoring the law can mean indictments, civil and criminal penalties, and expensive legal fees, which are all things that you don’t want to face.
Source: Dealer Compliance Consultants (as cited and linked to above) and WSPA